Eurocement to pay after settlement with antitrust

Eurocement to pay after settlement with antitrust
Published: 05 July 2006

Russia’s largest cement producer Eurocement will pay a 267 million ruble fine (US$10m) to the federal government, in accordance with an out-of-court settlement to its long-running dispute with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), Igor Artemyev, director of the service, told a news conference Tuesday.  The fine amounts to one per cent of Eurocement’s sales in 2005, Artemyev said. 
Artemyev called late last year for the introduction of a system of collecting fines based on the sales of the violating company. Deputy Director of the FAS Andrei Tsyganov said late last year that the service wanted to limit the maximum fine for violating companies at four per cent of their sales. 
Under the settlement between Eurocement and the FAS, the company must comply with antimonopoly law and abstain from stopping or cutting its cement output without good cause and regulatory approval. Eurocement must notify the regulator when it increases cement prices by more than five per cent, under the deal. Eurocement must also submit to the regulator at its request quarterly information on cement prices and must notify the regulator about purchases of stakes amounting to 15 per cent and more in other companies, the settlement reads. 
Eurocement is expected to make the payment to the budget in two installments: one before September 15 and one before December 15, the settlement reads. 
Before the settlement, the antitrust watchdog challenged a ruling of Russia’s Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeals, dated March 31, which canceled the regulator’s ruling that obliged Eurocement to cease the violations.
Under the ruling Eurocement was expected to pay 1.915 billion rubles of its uncompetitive earnings to the federal government.  The regulator also sought to oblige Eurocement to lower its weighted average cement price to no more than 1361 rubles per tonne and set its maximum cement price at 1497 rubles per tonne. The prices exclude value-added tax (VAT) and railway transportation tariffs.